FLAMVILLE, Sir William (c.1325-c.1396), of Aston Flamville, Leics.
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Family and Education
b.c.1325, s. and h. of Sir William Flamville of Aston Flamville by his 1st w. m. (1) bef. Easter 1335, Katherine, ?2s.; (2) bef. Mich. 1367, Hawise, wid. of Sir Hugh Meynell† (d.1363), of Kings Newton, Warws. and Langley Meynell, Derbys., 1da. Kntd. bef. Nov. 1362.
Commr. of arrest, Leics. May 1363; inquiry June 1364, Apr. 1376 (murder), May 1378 (liability to contribute to repairs to Leicester gaol), Jan. 1379 (murder), July 1387 (wastes, Monks Kirby priory), Warws. Oct. 1390 (estates of the late sir Richard Herthull); array, Leics. Oct. 1366, Feb. 1367, Apr. 1385, Mar. 1392; to collect parochial tax June 1371; of oyer and terminer May 1376 (complaint made by Sir Thomas Walsh*), Mar. 1377, Sept. 1387; to make proclamation against unlawful assemblies and punish insurgents July 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382.
Tax collector, Leics. Dec. 1372.
Escheator, Warws. and Leics. 10 Dec. 1376-26 Nov. 1377, 15 Nov. 1389-12 Dec. 1390.
Sheriff, Warws. and Leics. 5 Nov. 1379-18 Oct. 1380, 1 Dec. 1388-15 Nov. 1389.
J.p. Leics. 5 Apr.-Dec. 1381, 20 Dec. 1382-d.
Sir William was the representative of an old Leicestershire family descended from Robert de Flamville, a Norman noble who obtained the manor of Aston in about 1100. His father, another Sir William Flamville (b.c.1310), stated, when giving evidence in 1355 at the proof of age of William, Lord Ferrers of Groby, that he had married his then wife, Margaret Stoke, in March 1333, shortly after Ferrers’s birth; our shire knight must therefore have been the child of an earlier marriage, for he himself was first wedded shortly before Easter 1335, when his father entailed Aston on him and his wife, Katherine.1
Flamville followed his father in taking up the profession of arms. In 1342 he served at the siege of Vannes (Brittany), and thereafter was often engaged in the wars in France and Scotland, perhaps even joining the older Sir William on the field at Crécy. He was probably knighted before the winter of 1359-60 when Edward III’s army camped before Paris, for he had earlier been a member of the garrison at Calais under the captaincy of Sir Ralph Ferrers and had borne Ferrers’s pennon when they had marched to join forces with the King. Furthermore, his service at Calais and afterwards was to enable him to obtain a royal pardon, granted on 4 Nov. 1362 (when his first Parliament was in session), for having caused the death of a chaplain shortly before the expeditionary force had sailed.2
After 1362 Flamville was elected to 12 more Parliaments for Leicestershire, and came to be relied on to perform many of the tasks of local administration, as a royal commissioner and also as escheator and sheriff, both offices for two annual terms. Further military service overseas may have been the reason for his replacement as sheriff in January 1375, less than a month after appointment. He is not known to have been retained by any of the baronial landowners of Leicestershire, although in 1376 he did act as attorney for Anne, countess of Pembroke, safeguarding her interests when dower was assigned to another of her tenants. Flamville was away from Leicestershire in the summer of 1385, taking part in the expedition which Richard II himself led into Scotland. In the following year he and his parliamentary colleague, Sir Thomas Walsh, gave evidence to the court of chivalry in the celebrated dispute, over the right to bear certain heraldic arms, between Lord Scrope and Sir Richard Grosvenor, both of them supporting Scrope’s claim. While at Cambridge for the Parliament of 1388 (Sept.), he was called upon to witness the will of his fellow shire knight, Sir Roger Perwych, who died before the parliamentary session ended.3
Flamville’s second marriage, to Hawise Meynell, brought him a number of properties elsewhere in the Midlands which she held in dower from her former husband’s estate, only at the cost, however, of protracted litigation with the Meynell heirs. In 1367 the Flamvilles claimed from Hawise’s stepson, Sir Richard Meynell, part of the manor of Newhall in Stanton (Derbyshire), for Meynell had disputed her entitlement to dower there and alleged, furthermore, that she had illegally retained deeds relating to certain manors of his inheritance in Leicestershire. After Sir Richard’s death in 1376, Hawise strengthened her hold on lands at Hints (Staffordshire), Kings Newton (Warwickshire) and Langley (Derbyshire), but the division of the Meynell estates between four coheirs effected in 1388, coupled with the need to provide for other widows, led to yet more lawsuits. In 1390 another member of the Meynell family accused the Flamvilles of assaulting his servants at Hints, to which they reacted with counter-charges of unlawful entry and theft.4
Flamville died at an unknown date between Michaelmas 1395 and Michaelmas 1397. His son and heir, William, subsequently released to trustees, headed by Sir Hugh Shirley*, his interest in the manor of Aston Flamville, and to his father’s widow certain lands in Aston and Sharnford which Sir William had purchased. Aston Flamville then passed to Sir William’s daughter, Katherine, wife of Richard Turville of Normanton. The widowed Hawise married one William Weyland and continued to press for untroubled possession of her Meynell dower until Easter 1406.5